An Oregon Perspective: Priority Number One in 2010

This month, I held seven town hall meetings in Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley.  As I spoke with Oregonians about health care and the precarious state of our economy, these conversations reinforced my view that taking on unemployment has to be priority number one.

Since I took office last year, I’ve been fighting to create jobs in Oregon and in the coming months I’ll redouble my efforts.

To bring our economy out of the basement, there are a few things we can do right away.

We can increase lending to small businesses.  As we create jobs, our small businesses are going to do the bulk of the hiring.  But I hear over and over from small business owners who can’t get the loans they need to grow their companies.  I’ve introduced a bill, the Bank on our Communities Act, that will get our community banks lending to small businesses and help them hire new employees right away. 

We can replace the millions of jobs lost in manufacturing and other sectors in recent years.  The way we’ll get those jobs back is by ramping up the next global growth industry: renewable energy production.  I want clean energy jobs to be based in Oregon and the U.S., not China or Germany.  A key strategy for reviving our economy is by creating jobs that produce red, white, and blue American energy while lessening our dependence on foreign fuel.

We can put people to work installing energy-efficient retrofits to homes and businesses that lower energy costs and save families money.  

We can sustain the timber economy that so many Oregon families depend on.  Development of this critical sector of the Oregon economy will require energy production through biomass and cogeneration facilities and restoration of the housing market to increase demand for lumber.

 As you well know, we can’t tolerate continued delay in taking on the jobs crisis.  If we’re going to create jobs, we have to take action and I’ll be pushing my colleagues to adopt these measures for job growth at every opportunity.